Milley and McKenzie testimony exposes rift between Defense and State departments over Afghanistan

Two former top military officials involved with the United States’s withdrawal from Afghanistan blamed the State Department for the chaos that played out due to what they said was a delay in ordering an evacuation.

Gen. Mark Milley, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Frank McKenzie, the former commander of U.S. Central Command, testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday afternoon regarding the August 2021 withdrawal.

“On 14 August, the noncombatant evacuation operation decision was made by the Department of State and the U.S. military alerted, marshaled, mobilized, and rapidly deployed faster than any military in the world could ever do,” Milley said. “It is my assessment that that decision came too late.”

The State Department is responsible for ordering a noncombatant evacuation operation, or NEO, to be carried out
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